Following is a transcript from the National-Louis University, National College of Education Technology Committee, in which I describe the professional development possibilities of Second Life. The participants are me, Stuart Carrier, Xiuwen Wu, Rob Bowe, and Jane Moore.
CraigC: okay, second life
CraigC: before i go any further, and before you go to the web page, does anyone know what secondlife is?
StuartC: not familiar
XiuwenW: Heard of it
XiuwenW: on ChicagoTribute
JanePM: I followed the website earlier--seems weird--a virtual life?
CraigC: okay, let me be maybe the first to say this to you: this technology represents the future of distance education.
CraigC: i am writing a grant with CPS to do prof dev for CPS librarians.
RobertBo: with Gail bush?
CraigC: one of the central library people (head of tech) suggested investigating secondlife as a platform for pd
CraigC: (yes, writing it with gail)
CraigC: i was skeptical, because i had read the tribune piece and saw it mainly as a playground (which it is....there's all kinds of kinky stuff going on there)
CraigC: gail called it "loopy tunes" (but she hasn't seen it as i have)
RobertBo: You know what they say about Librarians.
JanePM: That was my first impression as well...what does it offer that Tapped In, for example doesn't?
CraigC: there is a set of "islands" that are devoted to librarians
CraigC: i now have an office there
CraigC: and have met many of the key players
CraigC: (my wife has been wondering if i have a first life)
CraigC: i have seen the future
CraigC: jane's question is THE question
CraigC: what's the value-added compared to tappedin?
CraigC: there will be a huge generational thing on this
CraigC: and many "serious" people will reject it
JanePM: I can't imagine why I'd want to do professional development in a site where I can buy realistic vamp wounds.
CraigC: i think they will be wrong to do so
CraigC: jane, you are an object lesson in skeptism
CraigC: bear with me, okay
JanePM: That was on the first page I got to when I searched for you.
CraigC: i'm not given to wild embracing of new tech just because it's new
JanePM: Always glad to oblige.
CraigC: (jane, you're only on the web site, not the world)
CraigC: it's not a web site
CraigC: it's virtual reality
CraigC: interactive virtual reality
JanePM: OK, set us straight.
CraigC: with hundreds of "locations" and "events" and millions of users and growing FAST
CraigC: every person has an avatar
CraigC: (you see the 'scary" ones on the secondlife.com home page)
CraigC: the librarians are mostly more pedestrian in appearance
CraigC: (I've been playing with my appearance, as most people do)
JanePM: So, how do we "find" you?
CraigC: okay, i'll cut to the quck, becuase i have to take a phone call at 11
CraigC: my SL name is Dewey Jung
CraigC: you can search for me if you ever get online
CraigC: my office has the NLU logo on it
StuartC: ok Dewey
CraigC: if i'm online i'll bring you to it
CraigC: (I hear the snickers already.)
CraigC: (this is going to be a tough sell, i can tell)
JanePM: So, we have to join to "see" you?
CraigC: anyway, the other day i was wandering around on infoisland, land "owned" by the alliance library system of western illinois
CraigC: yes jane
CraigC: this was before i met all the key players in the alliance's sl presence....they are the ones who gave me my office
CraigC: i was wandering around and noticed a lot of people gathered together on my map, so i went to see what was going on
CraigC: i found
CraigC: a class on how to do animations in sl
CraigC: let me tell you, it was the most profoundly interesting distance education experinece i have ever had
CraigC: about 50 people from around the world gathered for this previously-announced class
CraigC: we all sat around in a comfy "lecture hall"
CraigC: the instructor told us all to click a spot to get the "course materials"
CraigC: we immediately had sample scripts, images, how-to guides, etc. in our inventory
CraigC: he told us where to find the shareware program qavimator.
CraigC: and how to install it
CraigC: he tells us to use the chat for very general comments and questions, but to instant message him wtih specific ones
CraigC: so the class begins
CraigC: there is a whiteboard
CraigC: he's set it up with screenshots of each step in the process
CraigC: we use our inventory to do more complicated stuff
CraigC: he's talking on the chat and some students are talking on the chat
CraigC: he is responding to IM's, almost immediately.
CraigC: my questions are answered immediately
CraigC: there is no need to 'wait your turn" or to try to listen to quiet voices
CraigC: meanwhile, the students are IMing each other, all over the place
CraigC: networking, finding out about cool tricks
CraigC: so we create animations
CraigC: and we TRY THEM OUT on ourselves during the class
CraigC: so you get to SEE immediately ,what people have done
CraigC: you can IM people to ask them how they did it.
CraigC: WIthin 1 hour we had all made animations
CraigC: within 2 hours we had all built complicated gestures with sound, animation, scripting.
CraigC: it was engrossing.
CraigC: okay, i'm done.
JanePM: I'm exhausted :)
XiuwenW: Does this site charge a subscription fee?
CraigC: not for basic membership
StuartC: i see the distance learning implications
CraigC: stu, i hope so
JanePM: Yes, if you can get past the initial impression.
CraigC: i chatted with a 70 yr old chemistry prof in world
RobertBo: It looks like some charge a fee.
CraigC: he beleives that the VR aspect adds a kind of "physical presence" of others that makes the whole experience so much more "real" than a simple chat room.
CraigC: i agree.
CraigC: yes you can spend money, for sure
CraigC: on land
CraigC: "stuff" like clothing, skins, furniture
CraigC: but a lot of it is free, too
CraigC: and you can build your own stuff
CraigC: i built a sign, a table, decorated my office
CraigC: mark my words, folks, our "online" work is going to change dramatically within the next year or so
RobertBo: 5 cents to visit the doktor
CraigC: and i would bet
JanePM: We heard it here!
CraigC: that don grady is not going to lead the way.
RobertBo: Very interesting!
CraigC: i don't expect this committee to do anything right away
XiuwenW: If students can interact with an expert while viewing the solar system video, that'll be neat.
CraigC: i wanted to inform you
CraigC: we're going to write some experiments into our grant
JanePM: Thanks, Craig...it's worth exploring.
CraigC: but we're also going to back it up with a webct presence
CraigC: (just to be safe)
CraigC: i recommend going in world
CraigC: look around
CraigC: if you don't find anything interesting, let me know, and i'll be a guide for you
CraigC: Dewey Jung
CraigC: or email me.
CraigC: i have to go
JanePM: Thanks, Craig. I need to go as well. Bye, all. Happy Holidays!